Expression of a coriander desaturase results in petroselinic acid production in transgenic tobacco

Edgar B. Cahoon, John Shanklin, John B. Ohlrogge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

183 Scopus citations


Little is known about the metabolic origin of petroselinic acid (18:1Δ6cis), the principal fatty acid of the seed oil of most Umbelliferae, Araliaceae, and Garryaceae species. To examine the possibility that petroselinic acid is the product of an acyl-acyl carrier protein (ACP) desaturase, Western blots of coriander and other Umbelliferae seed extracts were probed with antibodies against the Δ9-stearoyl-ACP desaturase of avocado. In these extracts, proteins of 39 and 36 kDa were detected. Of these, only the 36-kDa peptide was specific to tissues which synthesize petroselinic acid. A cDNA encoding the 36-kDa peptide was isolated from a coriander endosperm cDNA library, placed under control of the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter, and introduced into tobacco by Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation. Expression of this cDNA in transgenic tobacco callus was accompanied by the accumulation of petroselinic acid and Δ4-hexadecenoic acid, both of which were absent from control callus. These results demonstrate the involvement of a 36-kDa putative acyl-ACP desaturase in the biosynthetic pathway of petroselinic acid and the ability to produce fatty acids of unusual structure in transgenic plants by the expression of the gene for this desaturase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11184-11188
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 1 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Fatty acid desaturation
  • Transgenic expression
  • Umbelliferae
  • Unsaturated fatty acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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